Although Tommy Tuberville says that he is very pleased with the way his true freshman kicker has performed so far, he notes that it might not been such a good thing if Byrum sets a record this season. "We are kicking too many field goals and not scoring enough touchdowns," says the Auburn coach, whose Tigers are preparing for an 11:30 a.m. SEC opener vs. visiting Mississippi State this week.
What makes Byrum's start even more impressive is that he suffered an ankle sprain trying to make a tackle on the opening kickoff of Auburn's game vs. Kansas State. He hasn't been able to kick off, but has been able to cope with the pain to kick field goals and extra points.
As he heads into a second week of rehab, Byrum says, "It is a little sore, but I am getting the treatments. I am getting a little less treatments now, about two or three a day, but I am trying to get as much as possible to get it taken care of."
Wes Byrum has been on campus since June after graduating from St. Thomas Aquinas High in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Byrum is also Auburn's number one option as the kickoff specialist. Because he hasn't been able to run full speed, he has been limited to attempting field goals and he has hit 6-7 tries early in his rookie season. He has also been perfect on his PAT kicks.
The freshman, who didn't kick last week until some limited work on Thursday, notes there is a chance he will be able to kick off this Saturday vs. the Bulldogs. "I am hopefully shooting for this week," he says. "Hopefully, I will be able to do it.
"i have been running and jogging every day," says Byrum, who notes that the ankle was hurting during Saturday night's game. "Right after I kick the ball, I land on my kicking foot," he says. "It is a little unstable."
Prior to game two vs. South Florida, Byrum wasn't pleased with how he was kicking in warmups. He had his sore ankle heavily taped, but found he wasn't able to kick the ball with the punch he wanted. "I wasn't hitting them long at all so I just said, ‘Forget it,' and I went to the sideline and cut the tape off."
The result was field goal makes of 49, 46 and 39. At his current pace he will easily surpass the record of 22 made field goals set in 1992 by Scott Etheridge.
Byrum says he isn't surprised he is off to a strong start. "It is pretty much what I expected. I wanted to come in and do my part. I practiced hard all summer and all throughout high school. When I got here I wanted to do my thing."